Irish Leaving Certificate, Various Holistic/Complementary Therapy Diplomas and an Access to Medicine Course.
How did you find it settling in to University life as a mature student?
Medicine is something I have always wanted to do and as I didn't previously have a degree it was quite exciting to be starting a new adventure. Everyone at UEA was extremely welcoming and helpful, as were the students who were already studying the course.
Please could you tell us why you chose to study at UEA?
My reasons for coming here were pretty straightforward: UEA offered the problem based learning style that I was looking for and I had heard good things about the course. When I visited campus I really liked the layout and it seemed to be a friendly and safe place.
Did you have any fears about returning to learning?
I think like all mature students you are a little apprehensive about returning to learning, not only because of the uncertainty in your ability to study but also with the other changes that it brings – financial and personal. Many of these fears were allayed when I met and spoke to the admissions team and some of the academic staff.
Could you tell us what you particularly enjoy about your course?
For me there are two distinct aspects of the course that I really enjoy – the first is the problem based learning format. It nurtures teamwork, clinical reasoning and makes learning the theory more relevant to the actual practice of medicine. The second has to be the clinical exposure that we get from the very start of the course. Our clinical exposure includes weekly visits to a GP practice and several blocks each year within the secondary care environment. During both of these we meet patients and develop the clinical skills necessary for the practice of medicine.
Looking back to Freshers' week, how did you feel then and how did you make friends?
Studying medicine I guess I was a little at an advantage when it came to Freshers' week as we had started a week earlier and so I had met many of the people starting on the course of which there were several mature students.
My advice now though is to go to as many of the social events as you can both within your faculty and university-wide. The students' union has a Mature Students Officer and there is also the Graduate Students Association, both of which arrange specific welcome events for mature students and graduates.
Please could you tell us about your career plans or goals for the future.
My plan at the moment is to intercalate next academic year and to complete the Masters in Clinical Education (MClinEd) here at UEA before going on to complete my MBBS. After my foundation years as a doctor I then hope to train in General Practice.
Do you have any advice you would like to pass on to potential mature students?.
The most difficult part of becoming a mature student is taking that first step and deciding that this is what you are going to do. My advice is quite simply go for it. It has simply been the best experience of my life AND I am doing something I have always dreamed of doing!